Ramadan is a holy month which is observed by over a billion Muslims across the globe. It’s a month that teaches us self-discipline, self-restraint, increasing our willpower and strength to not give in to our base desires. More than just not eating and drinking, the act of fasting is to make us empathise with those who have nothing. Those who don’t have food or water to break their fast with, and instead live in perpetual hunger. It’s a time for us to exercise our compassion towards those who have less and encourage us to give alms, charity and Zakah.
With Ramadan being in summer, it takes a LOT of self discipline to see it through. So, with that in mind, I have put together some top tips on how to stay healthy and sustained through out this month. I will also be putting together daily recipes for both Suhoor and Iftar, which are quick to make, gluten, dairy free, with high protein to keep you going through the fasts!
Although the temptation to tuck in to your junk food cravings is so so real, but the fact that you’ve been denying yourself food and water for 12-18 hours a day, I’m certain you can exercise a little more self discipline!
1. Do drink lots and lots of water. Hydration is so key. If water is boring for you, drink coconut water, watermelon water, or infuse and flavour your own! You can try all types of combinations, a favourite of mine is cucumber, mint and lime. I’ll be doing a piece on flavoured water!
2. During Iftar, try to get in as many of your five a day as possible. Make a leafy green salad with lots of vegetables. Open your fast with the salad before going in to your main meal. Not only with the water content in the salad keep you hydrated but will also replenish your losses and fills you up with the nutrients you need.
3. Do eat proportionately. Make sure you have enough protein, carbohydrates and vegetables/fruits. A good meal for Iftar could be a grilled chicken breast with a Greek salad and brown rice. For dessert you could make a scrummy seasonal fruit salad.
4. Do take your time during Iftar, eat and drink slowly. As much as you want to down everything in front of you, do it slowly. Your body has depleted all your glycogen stores and is seriously dehydrated, so scoffing everything at once, sends your body in to shock, and causes it to store everything in to fat cells immediately. That’s why opening your fast with a salad or something small is better.
5. Do exercise! It’s tempting to just stay in bed and binge watch Netflix until Iftar rolls around. However, I highly recommend you do some low intensity workouts. Not only will the endorphins boost your mood but it will kick start your metabolism! Helping to burn your food quicker and prevent your body from storing all food to fat.
1. Don’t eat fried foods! Please! It’s tempting I know, but try to avoid things that are deep fried. Not only is it so bad for you, but the salt content is so high that you will be further dehydrated and not to mention bloated too.
2. Don’t eat processed foods, anything that is packaged and doesn’t look like its original form, you know it can’t be good for you. Not only are these things filled with all kinds of junk, chemicals and salt, but considering you’ve been starving yourself for hours, this is the first thing your body will absorb!
3. Don’t drink carton juice, sugary or fizzy drinks. The high sugar content in these drinks will send you crashing in no time and the calories are just not worth it either. Instead you can juice your own fruits and vegetables or you can make your own fizzy drinks! Just add cucumber, lime, lemon in to sparkling water!
4. Don’t miss out on your 5 a day. I can’t stress this enough, eating fruits and vegetables are a massive source of nutrients, vitamins and great for hydration. It will help with bloating or any other digestive issues.
5. Don’t over do it. By that I mean, if you really feel like you can’t fast, or you feel lethargic, dehydrated, weak or unwell in any form, just break your fast. You need to listen to your body and hear what it is telling you. Everyone and body is unique and can handle extremities in different ways, do not compare yourself to anyone else, and do not put yourself down if you can’t do it.